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Christian Blog devotional

Wet Paint

“27 February – 242/365” by Researching Media is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

As a recent project, my wife and I decided to touch up some high traffic areas in our home with fresh paint. Each of us walked around one morning, with brush and paint can in hand, covering over blemishes high and low.

We finished the job as planned and were quite proud of our work. But there was a little problem: we didn’t mark where we painted. It’s hard to tell wet paint from dry of the same color, you know?

Well, I must have brushed against some fresh paint walking into the laundry room, because, next thing I know, my wife tells me I have a racing stripe across my backside! Later, our little terrier comes up to me sporting a white-tipped tail she didn’t have before. It actually looked quite fashionable on her.

I now know why signs that say Wet Paint, Biohazard, and Radioactive were invented.

Hey, someone needs to come up with a type of paint that goes on light pink and slowly turns white as it dries. I would buy some of that.

Anyway, after these two mishaps, we managed to avoid any further contact with wet paint, but the quote lover in me was intrigued. Searching for just the right words to describe our dilemma, I remembered these:

“The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

Robert Burns

This actually comes from the poem, To a Mouse. Burns wrote it after plowing up a mouse’s nest in a field in November 1785. The rodent ran away unharmed, but the poet felt bad–knowing he destroyed its home just before the brutal Scottish winter.

But who knows what really happened to our little grey friend after the accident. Maybe it ran straight to Robert Burn’s house and moved in!


Being a child of God doesn’t make one immune to ‘mouse-haps.’ In fact, I’ve survived quite a few. I bet you have also.

Maybe that’s why my wife and I gave the poor mouse in Burn’s poem a happy ending. Like the Psalmist said, “As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more (Psalm 71:14).

Have you ever experienced a Romans 8:28 situation–something that seemed ALL bad right when it happened, but later turned out for the good?

Maybe our present circumstances are like wet paint–we need to let them dry before we brush up against them. This takes faith in God’s sovereignty, but sure beats getting paint on your backside!

Here are two of my favorite, let-the-paint-dry scriptures. Please share yours in the comments, if you like.

“The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the work of your hands. –(Psalm 138:8)

“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “you are my God.” My times are in Your hands.” — (Psalm 31:14-15a)


God’s Child
Things don’t always turn out the way we think they should.
Sometimes, we look to heaven and say, “God, it’s just no good.”
Until somewhere from the silence…comes a voice of love
Saying, “You’re My child, and that’s enough.”

When you’re God’s child it’s enough.
He is all you need when the going gets tough.
It doesn’t make much difference if the sailing’s smooth or rough.
You’re God’s child, and that’s enough.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” — (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Categories
Christian Blog Comfort Hope

God is God, Wherever You Are

Photo by Farrel Nobel on Unsplash

For many of us, these times we’re living through have brought forceful emotions to the surface. For me, this has been particularly visible through mood swings and dreams.

I’ve always been susceptible to up and down emotions, but COVID 19, and now racial tensions on a national level, have taken things up a notch. The hills, drops, and loops of my life roller coaster are larger and occur more frequently.

Hyper-vigilance is the new norm. An unexpected loud sound–FedEx guy rings the doorbell and the dogs go nuts–sends my adrenaline soaring. A typically low-grade frustration takes me from sea level to death valley in a microsecond. It’s like I’m sailing on an even keel one moment, and slipping on a banana peel the next.

Uncertainty impacts the mind.

My pre-covid emotions were driving a Toyota Prius. Currently, I’m cruising in something more like this:


Dreams: they reveal our subconscious desires, and lately mine have been most enchanting. Two nights in a row, I’ve dreamed of intense platonic interactions with others.

Dream number one involves a heart-to-heart conversation with a former colleague I haven’t seen in years. In the second dream, I’m bear-hugging a childhood friend. I’ve also dreamed I’m at some sort of adult summer camp with a bunch of strangers, hiking through the wilderness and making smores by the fire.

Obviously, I’m craving connection with others.

Isolation impacts the mind.

Uncertainty and isolation pack a one-two punch that can put you on the canvas in a heartbeat.

For me, it’s always comforting to look in the Bible for someone who faced a similar situation. Evidently, the psalmist was going through a bit of a dry spell when he wrote this:

As the deer pants for the streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God, when can I go and meet with God? (Psalm 42:1-2 NIV)

Clearly, here’s a person craving connection, but with God, not man. Maybe this is the secret.

In another psalm, there’s a different deer:

It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; He enables me to stand on the heights. (Psalm 18:32-33 NIV)

Thirsty for a drink, or standing on the heights, God is the one who sustains.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:12-13

God is God, wherever you are.

Follows your heart–no matter how far.

Sees every turn. Knows every scar.

He’s still God–wherever you are.

Categories
Christian Blog courage

Sitting Back on Our ‘Buts’

When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, He said, “the Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us?” (Judges 6:12-13a NIV)

It was a bad childhood habit of mine–sitting back on my ‘but’ when I didn’t want to do something. The word was one of my favorites, “But mom, I can’t clean my room. I have soccer practice.”

Another young man in the Bible had the same problem. God sent an angel with a message for Gideon, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” (Judges 6:14)

But Lord…

This makes the second time Gideon sat back on his ‘but” in just three verses of scripture! Thankfully, the extremely patient angel gives it another go: “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” (Judges 6:16)

Finally, our reluctant hero accepts the mission. Apparently, Gideon doesn’t realize, until after the second but, that God will do the delivering–not him.

If God tells you to do something, don’t sit back on your ‘but.’ Get off you BUTT and do it!

Sacrifice thank offerings to God, fulfill your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me. (Psalm 50:14-15 NIV)

We get the deliverance, but God get’s the glory.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36 NIV)

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/28/sitting-back-on-our-buts/

Categories
Christian Blog honesty

The Night Watch

I broke the crystal on my Apple Watch the other day. I was super-sweaty after a bike ride and took it off to clean it. Walking into the kitchen, as I reached for a towel, the slippery watch fell out of my hand and onto the tile floor below. Murphy’s law was in full effect, as my go-to gadget landed flat on its face with an audible crunch. Thankfully, the watch still works, but oh what a sad face!

☹️😢😳

When I woke up early the next morning, my broken gadget was sitting on the dresser next to the bed. I picked it up and put it on, but then I noticed something unusual: in the dimness, the face looked pristine–like it had never been broken. However, once I made it into the bathroom and turned on the light, the damage was clearly visible.

Sin is like that. I don’t notice cracks in my relationship with God until His light makes them visible.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.

John 3:19-21

I recently started following a high quality blog by Anna Sofia called Purpose Not Perfection. It was her post, Finding Identity in Jesus Christ, that prompted me to let the light of God shine on my heart’s condition. You can read it here.

These are some of the powerful things she said:

“Our identity cannot be found in ourselves. We cannot rely simply on feelings, because we are sinful. When we become Christians, we no longer search for identity, because Christ defines us. We no longer search, because we have been found.”

Anna Sofia

Thank you, Anna, for reminding me that the only place to find my true identity is in God’s light—Jesus Christ.

Photo by Wallace Chuck on Pexels.com

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?”

2 Corinthians 13:5
Categories
Christian Blog

The Delightful Danger of Distraction

When I was a boy, I spent two weeks every summer on my grandparents southwest Oklahoma farm. It was 160 acres of cotton fields, mesquite trees and sand. There was also a large garden, a tree house and a coop full of chickens.

A favorite night time activity of my cousins and mine was to collect June bugs to feed those chickens. Here’s how it worked:

  • Turn on the porch light.
  • Wait for the June bugs to get stuck on the window screens.
  • Grab them and put them in a jar until the next morning.

Now, to a chicken, a live June bug is like ice cream on the 4th of July to you and me. My grandmother’s hens were used to eating scraps from the table and scratching at the ground for whatever else. So when we started dropping juicy bugs the GIRLS went WILD–losing their natural wariness.

Cue mischievous little boy.

I enjoyed sneaking up behind a preoccupied hen and giving her the boot. That’s right, I gave the girl a gentle kick with the side of my foot, sending her flapping with a “BA-BAAK!”

Oh what fun!

Until grandmother caught me.


So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?” or “What shall we wear?” For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. (Matthew 6:31-32 NIV)

Have you ever become preoccupied with the stresses of life and not trusted God like you should? Me too. Sometimes I get distracted by the ‘June bugs’, and don’t see the devil sneaking up from behind.

I realize comparing our unwanted worries to the chickens’ delicious June bugs is a weak analogy. Or is it? Spinning my worry wheels (and getting nowhere) is like eating whipped cream straight out of the can, compared to waiting on God to feed me. But Jesus says go to the Father first.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 NIV)

*No live chickens were harmed while writing this post.


https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/06/06/kick-a-chicken-for-the-kingdom-of-god/

Categories
Hope Perspective

The Sky is Probably NOT Falling

“Whoever seeks good finds favor, but evil comes to one who searches for it.”

Proverbs 11:27

In the early 1990’s, social psychologist Roy Baumeister began exploring the negativity bias–the widely accepted belief that bad has a stronger impact on people than good. His team conducted extensive research, hoping to find situations where a single positive circumstance was actually stronger than a negative one.

They couldn’t find any.

In fact, Baumeister and his colleagues discovered that negative life events are typically three to five times stronger than positive ones. In other words, it takes four compliments to make up for one put down.

He lays it all out in his 2019 book, The Power of Bad.

Here’s my favorite take away: our brains are hard-wired to focus on bad, but the rational mind can take this in stride by finding the good.

Baumeister recommends a positivity ratio of 4 to 1 (4 good to 1 bad).

Finding the good isn’t a new idea; it’s as least as old as the 1913 novel, Pollyanna. In the book, a young orphan named Pollyanna uses the “glad game” to cope with the circumstances and sorrows of her life.

Here’s how to play:

Always look for something to be glad about in any situation.

This makes sense. Maybe it’s why gratitude journals are so popular, while keeping an ingratitude journal is a non-starter.

But let’s take it all the way back to the first century. The apostle Paul reminded the Christians in Rome that God uses EVERYTHING for the good of those who love and serve Him (Romans 8:28).

“Child, I got this. It’s ALL good.”

God

Finally, brothers, Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Philippians 4:8

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/23/the-sky-is-probably-not-falling/

Categories
Hope

God Doesn’t Make Junk

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10

Many people considered famous today were once oddballs who refused to do their art the established way. The painter Jackson Pollock laid a humongous canvas on the floor of his barn and dripped paint on it. The critics thought he was nuts–until people started calling it art. More recently, there’s Lindsey Stirling, who was told by the judges on America’s Got Talent that her unusual combination of dancing and playing the violin was not marketable. After being voted off the show, she took her skills to YouTube to prove the naysayers wrong. Her channel now has 12.4 million subscribers!

“Jackson Pollock, Cathedral, 1947” by Detlef Schobert is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Personal expression doesn’t have to be justified to hold value.

Come to think of it, Jesus was somewhat of an oddball during His days on earth. His ‘art’ was unappreciated by the religious experts, but people with the ears to hear believed (John 1:12). He now has over two billion followers!

If Christ completed the good works God prepared in advance for Him to do, you can too (John 14:12).

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

Dr Seuss

You are God’s workmanship, and God doesn’t make junk!

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/21/god-doesnt-make-junk/

Categories
Hope

The Ultimate Mentor

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3:17 NIV)

I got my first life coach when I was fourteen years old. Orville Lambert was a 70 something year old deacon at my church who willingly volunteered to teach a bunch of middle-schoolers! Every Sunday morning he stood before us, his soft grey eyes meeting our stuck-up attitudes with a smile.

No matter what we threw at him during the Sunday School lesson, Orville always landed on his feet. He had the remarkable ability to answer any question with a higher caliber query of his own. And the final outcome was always therapeutic.

Like Orville, God asks great questions. The first one in the Bible occurs in Genesis chapter three. Adam and Eve have just eaten the forbidden fruit and hide when they hear God walking in the garden, but He calls out to them:

“Where are you?”

Genesis 3:9b

Isn’t this an amazing statement? God could have said something like, “What have you done?”

Instead, with three words, He reveals the true depth of His love. God seeks connection with us AFTER we fall. He wants to be our friend, even if we don’t accept His friend request.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

God is on a search and rescue mission, not search and destroy.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2020/05/15/the-ultimate-mentor/

Categories
Hope

God Doesn’t Break Toys

The little boy in my music class pounded the tambourine on the floor. This was AFTER I’d demonstrated to everyone how to properly play our classroom instruments. Visibly frustrated, I confiscated the instrument and commented (in jest): “If you break this tambourine, I’m going to come to your house and break one of your toys.” The offender gazed at me blankly. However, another little boy nearby spoke up matter of factly,

“God doesn’t do bad things. He doesn’t break toys.”

Five Year Old Super Sage

OUCH! My young friend had me there. I sheepishly admitted to everyone that he was right and I was wrong.

Even a shallow dive into the Bible, reveals that God is fair in his dealings with people (Psalm 89:14). Furthermore, He is loving (1 John 4:8), patient (Exodus 34:6), and merciful to the max (Lamentations 3:22,23).

“And the point is?”

God is indeed good, but we are prone to blame Him for the evils that touch us personally. For example, I have a friend who lost faith in God after her father died during a routine medical procedure. She feels her dad’s life was taken; how could a loving God allow this?

Truly, this is a tragic situation, but is God REALLY to blame? Perhaps it makes more sense for my friend not to believe in doctors.

With due respect to those who grieve (that’s all of us at some point), aren’t good and bad simply two sides of the same coin?

“Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” (Job 2:10b)

In the quest of making life’s music, there is going to be a broken tambourine or two. Perhaps our goal should be to recognize (that for most of us) our lives contain more lemonade than lemons.

Categories
Hope

God Knows

There is a way which seems right to a man, but it’s end is the way of death. (Proverbs 16:25)

Marie Curie was a highly acclaimed physicist and chemist of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The first woman to win a Nobel prize, she is famous for developing and proving the theory of radioactivity.

Unfortunately, the damaging effects of radiation were not yet known, and long term exposure led to Dr. Curie’s premature death.

She was poisoned by her passion.

History is replete with examples of activities that seemed relatively harmless–at the time–but later turned out to be deadly. The health risks of smoking comes to mind.

So how does one know, in the present moment, what passions to pursue or avoid?

Perhaps wise king Solomon, of ancient Israel, provides the answer in one of his many proverbs.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

In reality, the whole universe is a minefield; one wrong step at any point could leave us maimed or dead. Think for a moment. Just how much of what happens on Earth is actually under our direct control?

We have weather forecasters, not “sure”castors.

Sadly, so many of life’s questions end with the same human answer: I don’t know.

But God does.

Great is our Lord and mighty in power; His understanding has no limit. (Psalm 147:5 NIV)

I seek today to trust my creator as much as that long-suffering guy in the Bible named Job.

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. (Job 23:10)

God Knows.

https://davidsdailydose.org/2019/09/20/god-knows/